POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

Serves 6.

Note: From "Simple French Food," by Richard Olney.

1 lb. potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced

1 lb. leeks, tough green parts removed, cleaned, finely sliced

• Salt

• 2 quarts boiling water

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions

Add the potatoes and leeks to the salted, boiling water and cook, covered, at a light boil until the potatoes begin to cook apart — or until, when one is pressed against the side of the saucepan with a wooden spoon, it offers no resistance to crushing — about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the potatoes. Add the butter at the moment of serving, after removal from the heat.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 130 Fat 6 g Sodium 23 mg Saturated fat 4 g

Carbohydrates 18 g Calcium 36 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 15 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 fat.

Fried Puff Balls

Makes about 40.

Note: From "Simple French Food," by Richard Olney, who acknowledges that the stirring in this recipe can be tiring for your arms. "If, after the mixture begins to achieve a certain consistency, the handle of the wood spoon, standing vertically, is grasped in one's fist, forearm held horizontally in relation to the spoon handle, the movement coming from one's shoulder as one stirs firmly, rhythmically in a circle, the forearm will suffer less from fatigue."

• 1 c. water

• 1/3 c. butter

• 1/2 tbsp. sugar

• Pinch salt

1 tsp. (loosely filled) grated lemon rind

• 1 c. (instant-blending type) flour

• 4 eggs

Olive oil (or other vegetable oil) for frying

Directions

Combine the water, butter, sugar, salt and lemon rind in a saucepan, bring slowly to a boil, and, as soon as the butter is completely melted, remove from heat.

Add the flour all at once, stirring, first carefully, then, as the mixture pulls itself together, vigorously. Return to the heat and continue to stir, roughly and rhythmically, for 3 or 4 minutes or until the mass clings persistently together, leaving the bottom and sides of the saucepan clean, and its surface assumes a sweaty, shiny aspect.

Remove from the heat and, forming each time a well in the center, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring each time until the mixture begins to unify and then beating vigorously.

A skillet or a large omelet pan, filled two-thirds full with oil, is deep enough for frying. If using a deep fryer, don't use the basket. A large, round, flat, wire skimming spoon is the most practical for removing the fritters from the fat; lacking that, use a slotted skimming spoon. The oil should sizzle when a bit of batter is dropped in, but it should not be too hot — the fritters need to cook long enough so that exterior coloration coincides with their interior drying out.

Don't overcrowd the pan — fritters swell to about four times the size of the raw dab of dough. Drop in teaspoonsful, dipping the spoon into the hot fat each time before spooning up the dough. Roll them over in the oil with a nudge of the teaspoon tip to encourage even coloring. Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with sugar or with powdered sugar.